NIMASA seeks special interest rate for maritime assets
…As Dakuku solicits stakeholders support to grow industry
…Says Eastern Ports Key to Economic Development
By Silas Onuoha
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside has disclosed that the Agency is engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to create a special interest rate for maritime assets acquisition in Nigeria, stating that NIMASA is committed to opening new frontiers for potential investors in the sector.
Dr. Dakuku made this known during the Maritime Stakeholders Interactive forum in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, noted that other industries such as the textile and manufacturing are already enjoying same arrangement with the CBN, that it would be beneficial for maritime to also enjoy same opportunity, in order to grow Nigeria’s economy.
“We are committed to providing opportunities for investors through public and private partnership. This applies especially to investments in maritime infrastructure, shipping and ancillary services, offshore services, ship building repairs as well as marine and bunkering services through elimination of threats associated with infrastructure challenge and low capacity development. In this regard, we are engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria to create a special interest rate for maritime infrastructure development and maritime assets acquisition in Nigeria. This is aside from looking at the early disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds. So the Agency is doing a lot to grow the industry and I enjoin every stakeholder to support NIMASA by playing his own role. ”
Speaking further, the DG said there are enormous potentials untapped in the country’s maritime sector. He noted that the Ports located in the Eastern flank of the Country comprising of Calabar, Port-Harcourt and Onne hold the key to Nigeria’s economic development, that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the Ports function optimally.
He said, “For us to harness our maritime potentials, the ports in the Eastern flank must be fully utilized. The eastern zone is the most critical because out of 7 functional seaports in Nigeria, 3 are domiciled in the eastern zone that harbors over 70percent of the 275 terminals that are in the country. Unfortunately in terms of cargo reception, there is no corresponding relationship between the facilities available, because the eastern zone accounted for less than 20percent of the vessels that visited the Nigerian ports in 2016 and 2017. It is only in the first quarter of 2018 that the port accounted for close to 39percent of dry cargo. That is why this meeting is designed to re-engineer the operational efficiency of the eastern ports and by extension the Nigeria maritime domain”.
According to him, the available data shows that there is need for serious collaboration with stakeholders in the sector to ensure that the environment is made conducive enough for continuous growth, that is premised on sustainable development devoid of threats such as piracy and other maritime crimes.
Earlier in his address the Chairman, Governing Board of NIMASA, Maj. Gen Jonathan India Garba said that the eastern zonal area has a lot to offer Nigerian economy in terms of shipping. He added that all Stakeholders should support the Agency, as it strives to create an enabling environment for maritime to thrive in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of Starz Marine, Engineer Greg Ogbeifun who also spoke at the event commended Dr. Dakuku Peterside led Management on the awareness the Agency is creating to drive investors into the maritime sector. Also the former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Captain Biu said that government is not totally responsible for the previous stagnation of the maritime sector. He said that it is time for stakeholders to support NIMASA to bring the much needed development to the Maritime sector.
It should be noted that this stakeholders’ forum is an innovation of the present management of the Agency to engender stakeholders driven maritime sector. The Stakeholders forum had previously held in Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt. The General Secretary of the Abuja MoU Barrister Mfon Usoro presented a paper with the theme, ‘Harnessing Maritime Potentials in an Untapped Environment: Opportunities, Threats and the Role of Government’.